Best of Dubrovnik
Updated: Jun 30, 2022
Like a pearl embedded in a sea shell, Dubrovnik is the most southern city in Croatia. Did you know that this city is called the pearl of the Adriatic because of the white colour of its fortresses? The history of this beautiful destination can be felt in the alleys of the city centre, the walls of the fortresses and the maze of narrow streets. Walking through this city is a wonderful discovery where from every corner you can peek into its heart from above. If you love pebble beaches, nature reserves and squirrels, the combination of beach and city centre, breath-taking views and nightlife, Dubrovnik is definitely your next destination. So, start packing your bags and let's go!
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What not to miss?
The historical centre is one of the most charming districts of the city with a labyrinth of alleys, surrounded by medieval ramparts and fortresses, squares with a historical atmosphere, period buildings and ancient churches. A wonderful place to step back in time. The Pile Gate will lead you to the entrance of the district and Stradun, the most famous street in Dubrovnik will be the star of your walk. Souvenir shops, small restaurants, bars and a lot of vitality is the focal point where street performers and concerts take place.
Fortress of St. John
Used as protection for the ancient maritime republic of Dubrovnik, today it still retains that imposing spirit, giving the impression of being impregnable. Theatre performances are held inside and it is one of the symbolic monuments. Of course, this is not the only one you will find in the city, for example, the Fort of Lovrijenac which is considered the place where you can feel like you're in a Game of Thrones episode because of some scenes were filmed there. Dominating the gulf, it offers a beautiful view both by day and night when viewed from land and sea.
The Franciscan Church and Monastery
Located on Stradun, the complex includes the church, the monastery dating back to the 14th century, an old pharmacy and a library in which a manuscript is said to be hidden, containing the formula for eternal youth. Who doesn't want to possess it? We certainly do! The place is truly an oasis of peace where the cloister inside is an example of simplicity.
In an area of Croatia such as Dubrovnik, we cannot but recommend that you pop down to the beaches and enjoy the crystal-clear, emerald water. Below we recommend some of the main beaches: Banja beach if you want to dive in with the panorama of the old city as a view, Buža beach with rocks behind it that make it almost a basin, and Cava Beach whose peculiarity is that they have sun loungers on the rock, St Jacob’s Beach which is a little far from the city centre but truly magnificent and at the end Copacabana beach with a wonderful panorama of mountains, islands, and sea. Whichever beach you decide to relax and enjoy your sunny days at, we recommend that you bring your beach shoes with you as all the beaches are full of pebbles. And if you forget them at home, don't worry because you can buy them from plenty of street vendors.
What else to visit?
Church of St. Blaise
Located at the end of Stradun Street, this Baroque-style church designed by the Venetian architect Marino Gropelli is famous for its magnificent cloister and the richness of detail of its exterior decorations in contrast to the sobriety and simplicity of its light and bright interior and the high altar of the statue of the Saint, the city's patron saint.
Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary
Also known more simply as the Dubrovnik Cathedral, this building is a famous Venetian Baroque structure located in Dubrovnik's Old Town, near the Rector's Palace. Rich in history and spirituality, it is characterized by the Treasury Chapel where one can admire the precious gold and silver reliquaries of St Blaise.
One of the most important palaces in the city housed the rector, who was elected by the people from among the representatives of the city's noble families and held office for one month. The square where it stands is really beautiful, where the historical palace stands out, housing an interesting museum with paintings, sculptures, artefacts and representing the power of the city. So, you can't miss it on your walk.
How to travel there?
Getting to Dubrovnik by plane is one of the best options. Dubrovnik Airport is located in the town of Čilipi, about 20 kilometres from Dubrovnik. Together with Zagreb and Split, it is one of the main airports in Croatia. This airport has almost 3.5 million passengers per year.
It’s also possible to arrive in Dubrovnik’s Old Port by boat. It is one of the most famous in the Mediterranean and one of the most emblematic places in the city. The port is located about two kilometres from the old town and offers all kinds of services, as Dubrovnik is an almost indispensable stop for cruises across the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the cheapest ways to get to Dubrovnik is by bus. However, you should keep in mind that the trips are quite long. The bus ride from Zagreb to Dubrovnik takes about 8:30 hours, from Zadar 6:30 hours and from Split a little over 4 hours. The buses arrive at the central station located in Gruž, near the harbour, about 2 kilometres from the historic centre of Dubrovnik.
When to travel there?
We recommend you go during the fall, in September or October.
At that time, the temperature is not too hot and the streets are not too crowded. The prices also go a little down. The water remains warm for these two months, so it's a great time to dip into the sea.
The cost of living in Dubrovnik isn't so cheap. Indeed, you can expect higher prices since the city is one of the most expensive ones in the country.
Accommodation in Dubrovnik is affordable but it all depends on the comfort you want. For a hostel, it can be around 15€ a night. If you want something fancier, it can go up to 100€ a night.
As for transport, one bus ticket is 1€50 and the uber is very cheap. For those interested in enjoying all its historical and artistic sights, we recommend you buy the Dubrovnik Card, which includes several spots and transports.
When it comes to eating, your spending obviously depends on where you choose to eat: the price of fast food is not very high compared to Western Europe. But again, if you decide to treat yourself, the bill can quickly rise. Therefore, you can find cheaper places of course, but generally speaking, restaurants are expensive. Don't forget that you have to add (traditionally) a 10% tip!
Where to eat?
Dubrovnik's gastronomy is characterized by the presence of fish and fresh seafood in many
of its typical dishes. Rice and local olive oil will also be found in most of your dishes. Due to its geographical position, Dubrovnik's cuisine has Austrian, Balkan and Mediterranean influences.
Where to eat in a starred restaurant in Dubrovnik? Well, go to 360! This 1 Michelin star restaurant is located at the entrance of the old town when you arrive from the Ploce Gate. There is a very nice terrace overlooking the old port of Dubrovnik. The 5-course tasting menu costs HRK 980 (131 €).
If you are looking for the best seafood restaurants in the city, you must try Proto. Located in the historical heart of the old town, it offers traditional Croatian dishes. You can expect to pay between 250 and 500 kunas (33-34 €) for one of the house specialities.
Finally, go to Barba to taste delicious fish or seafood burgers. We advise you, in particular, the tuna or octopus burgers which are delicious. Also, don't miss trying their famous fried oysters, one of their specialities.
To discover Croatian delicacies in terms of food and drink, check out our article on food in Croatia and follow our profile @thewalkingparrot to find out when we post new articles.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival (July-August)
One of the most famous festivals was held in the 1950s ween July and August. The event encompasses a rich programme of concerts, dance, theatre, opera and classic music. The perfect time to enjoy the city at the height of vitality and creativity with many international guests promoting a cultural and meeting centre.
Good Food Festival (October)
An event focusing on Greek gastronomy and full of activities based on wine tastings, offering festival desserts, gastro tours, culinary workshops and evenings in the company of good food stretching along the entire span of Stradun. Moreover, various activities are organised following this culinary thread such as cooking workshops on the preparation of Dubrovnik sweets and traditional Croatian dishes and organising a dinner with a celebrity chef.
St. Blaise Festival (February)
Considered to be the day Dubrovnik celebrates its patron saint, the city is transformed into a big party full of decorations. The importance of this event can be understood since it has been celebrated since 972 when it was created. This festival has been included in the UNESCO heritage festivities representing the traditionalist with folk costumes, concerts, performances, and walking on city walls evoking the times of popular customs.
This was our guide to Dubrovnik, our first destination in Croatia. Feel free to like and share it and take a look at our other articles on the different destinations of Greece like Athens, Santorini, Mykonos and other places in Europe such as Lisbon, Porto, and Aveiro. Don’t forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to travel with us to other destinations.